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  #21  
Old 05-30-2013, 01:12 PM
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Originally Posted by keoki82 View Post
...Perhaps head wear is determined by how well they are built in the first place?
Good question ! how well build , raises another question :
build to sound good, or build to last long ?

Quote:
.....Would be interesting to have one of our resident repairmen give us a numbered count on the makes and models of machines that have suffered from head wear.
Any deck, on which you've changed heads has suffered head wear
That was normally why a tapedeck was taken into the shop.

I don't think any tech bothered to keep score I surely did not - and i have no idea if i have replaced 600 or 3000 heads , back in the hayday's we bought Bogen heads in 100pcs. boxes , Philips in equal sized boxes ....

Quote:
....Also, have the customers been thoroughly interrogated to be sure what tape types were being used prior to head wear?
Frankly ? I never asked, and quite frankly didn't care either If a customer asked to get the deck aligned for a specific tape, fine, else it was setup to factory standard - typically tapes like Scotch 207, revox 601, Agfa PE36 or Basf LP35 -
We mostly sold Basf and Agfa tapes in huge quantities - Maxell tapes did not offer the same business (Despite we found them to be fine tapes too)

Business is business - could we profit from selling Basf/Agfa instead of Maxell - why not ?

Quote:
I will believe, however, that a company like Sony would not have put as much money into the manufacturing of heads as Studer did, for example.
Nobody knows how much money any vendors used in development - that figure has allways been kept behind closed doors.

what is your assumption based on ?
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  #22  
Old 05-30-2013, 01:22 PM
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Scotch 111 is crap? - I think not! Honestly I've had really good luck with 111 and for the genre of music I record on, it's a match made in heaven! I record alot of 1960s garage rock on 111 and it sounds pretty darn good. But for really clean resolution I tend to go for maxell UD-37 for techno and rap as well as better recorded classic rock. Older formulations of audiotape brand stuff is good too.
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  #23  
Old 05-30-2013, 01:43 PM
keoki82 keoki82 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jan_stevns View Post
Good question ! how well build , raises another question :
build to sound good, or build to last long ?



Any deck, on which you've changed heads has suffered head wear
That was normally why a tapedeck was taken into the shop.

I don't think any tech bothered to keep score I surely did not - and i have no idea if i have replaced 600 or 3000 heads , back in the hayday's we bought Bogen heads in 100pcs. boxes , Philips in equal sized boxes ....



Frankly ? I never asked, and quite frankly didn't care either If a customer asked to get the deck aligned for a specific tape, fine, else it was setup to factory standard - typically tapes like Scotch 207, revox 601, Agfa PE36 or Basf LP35 -
We mostly sold Basf and Agfa tapes in huge quantities - Maxell tapes did not offer the same business (Despite we found them to be fine tapes too)

Business is business - could we profit from selling Basf/Agfa instead of Maxell - why not ?



Nobody knows how much money any vendors used in development - that figure has allways been kept behind closed doors.

what is your assumption based on ?
My Sony vs. STUDER comment stemmed from Lance indicating he wore out the heads on an early model Sony portable in short order. Apples and oranges here. The B67 is a broadcast machine. It's not going to wear down so easily. Full stop.

Thanks for your comments Jan - most appreciated.

For all of you here, I'm new to open reel tape and am in the experimental/honeymoon/hobbyist stages. I find I want to make as many recordings as possible, and on NOS, OOS, etc. I shelled out for 2 reels of ATR Magnetics but I haven't used them yet. So far my primary source material has been redbook digital. I prefer the warmth and "roughness" a tape lends to an often perfected, polished and lifeless digital master. It gives flaws, imperfections, exaggerated bass and a sonic character that is more pleasing to my ear, even if I'm losing HF information because I don’t know how to calibrate my decks for tape type.

Because I'm using a smattering of brands (mostly Scotch 111 and BASF LP35LH for the brown older stuff and Maxell-something for the polyester black stuff, it's probably best not to tinker around with bias calibration just yet. I don’t know how, anyway.

And yes, I am broke. And these Scotch 111's were a dollar apiece. No bidding, and no S&H costs. Yes, there have been about 5 tapes that began shrinking from improper storage that I've had to trashcan. But now I have spare reels. And out of a lot of 50 tapes? That's not bad. I can't afford to buy new tape either. Those 10" metal reels of ATR were $85 apiece. I'm not complaining - I'm happy there are still companies passionate about manufacturing tape. But right now, I've got to use what I have.

The purpose of this thread was to find out why Scotch 111 sounded dull on the more modern TEAC machine. I have my answers. Thanks all.

Last edited by keoki82; 05-30-2013 at 01:51 PM.
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  #24  
Old 05-30-2013, 04:33 PM
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I also came across a load of acetate tape, a few years back, including 111. Some was useable, some fell apart upon threading. Some older acetate I once had curled badly and had poor tape to head contact.

I fail to see why anyone would bother to use it today when far superior used polyester based tape is available cheap. Acetate is just too risky. It is brittle, is an ancient formulation, as noted above does not suit the bias setup of machines made in the last half century. It lacks the improved surface polish and quality of more recent tape. And God help you if you get the vinegar symptoms. Even the crappiest SSS tape can be baked and content retrieved, but when acetate degrades it is pretty final. Still, each to their own.
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  #25  
Old 05-30-2013, 05:43 PM
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This all makes me hope my Dad's 111 of us and other relatives is spooled well and will transfer at least once before
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  #26  
Old 05-30-2013, 06:48 PM
speaker dave speaker dave is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Listens2tubes View Post
This all makes me hope my Dad's 111 of us and other relatives is spooled well and will transfer at least once before
I've transferred aout a dozen of my Dad's 111 tapes. One of them had some major dropouts from oxide falling off in spots. (It was still playable.) All the rest played through just fine.

I do have some acetate tapes with significant curling leading to left channel dropouts. I don't mind tossing the bad ones. I wouldn't seek out 111 for everyday use, but I do have enough reels that I may use one of my mono decks to make some oldies tapes, maybe Elvis on Sun Records, that sort of thing.

I would be real happy to find a stash of 203, or UD. Newer tape is great, i just think that people tend to get snobby about the difference between todays best and good brands of the past.

David
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  #27  
Old 05-31-2013, 12:20 AM
keoki82 keoki82 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by speaker dave View Post
I've transferred aout a dozen of my Dad's 111 tapes. One of them had some major dropouts from oxide falling off in spots. (It was still playable.) All the rest played through just fine.

I do have some acetate tapes with significant curling leading to left channel dropouts. I don't mind tossing the bad ones. I wouldn't seek out 111 for everyday use, but I do have enough reels that I may use one of my mono decks to make some oldies tapes, maybe Elvis on Sun Records, that sort of thing.

I would be real happy to find a stash of 203, or UD. Newer tape is great, i just think that people tend to get snobby about the difference between todays best and good brands of the past.

David
I noticed the tape that was more curled had significant left channel dropouts as well. Why the left channel?

The Kodaks in the stash were useless. They stank of vinegar and wouldn't even wind onto a take up reel anymore. But most of the 111's will satisfy me for mono content.
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  #28  
Old 05-31-2013, 03:39 AM
speaker dave speaker dave is offline
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That's typical for 4 track machines. The machine plays the first and third track counting down from the top. The first track is the left channel. Any problem with the edges "flapping about" and it wil be more evident in the left channel.

David
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  #29  
Old 05-31-2013, 08:15 PM
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Lance Lawson Lance Lawson is offline
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Every acetate tape I've encountered since 2005 has been garbage. Every single one has broken in use and some didn't even get past trying to thread them up. I fail to see the advantage of using ancient low output tape that is hard on the heads and transport and prone to breaking can be seen as having merit. Even if acquired free it's shortcomings don't balance the scales.
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  #30  
Old 06-01-2013, 02:03 AM
keoki82 keoki82 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lance Lawson View Post
Every acetate tape I've encountered since 2005 has been garbage. Every single one has broken in use and some didn't even get past trying to thread them up. I fail to see the advantage of using ancient low output tape that is hard on the heads and transport and prone to breaking can be seen as having merit. Even if acquired free it's shortcomings don't balance the scales.
A citation or reference is needed concerning your claim that acetates cause greater head wear than poly base.
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  #31  
Old 06-01-2013, 03:00 AM
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Personally, I've always taken that for granted.

And if I remember correctly, by the late 70s, Soviet tape machine manuals had included a note, discouraging the use of older acetate-based tapes, specifically 'Type-6' Soviet acetate tape, which is believed to be much, much worse on the heads than Western acetate tapes.

I have never actually held a proper acetate tape, but I do have a few reels of that Type-6 tape that I never use. The surface looks rough, it tends to snap easily and if I pull the tape back and forth through my finger as if that is the head, I can really feel the tape's roughness...
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  #32  
Old 06-01-2013, 03:45 AM
speaker dave speaker dave is offline
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I'm not denying that some oxide formulas are rougher than others but I'm sure acetate backing doesn't lead to a rougher tape or increased head wear.

Before acetate there were paper tapes and they really were rougher. Not as in sandpaper rough but in just not smooth. The reason this matters is primarily for noise and modulation noise effects. There is a huge difference caused by the surface irregularity because it is, in the end, a spacing effect. If you space a tape off the head by one wavelength you lose 55 dB (more than a little bit). If the tape surface is a series of bumps then you are spacing it off the heads by the average distance of the valleys between the bumps. This is cause of the HF loss that unpolished tapes have.

Now if the tape has no signal then there may be no noise due to the roughness, but if you DC magnetize it then the head will read the surface roughness. DC could cause totally uniform magnetization of the material but the randomly varying spacing of the rough tape surface means that the head would interpret that as recorded noise.

So this is how modulation noise comes about: when a low frequency tone is recorded a noise background rises and falls as the signal swings above and below zero - modulation noise.

The point of all this is that manufacturers went from paper to Acetate because the backing was enough smoother that they could measure a very significant reduction in modulation noise. (Read the 3M papers to see the data on this) Nobody ever claimed that Mylar was better in that regard than Acetate, only that it was better with regard to breakage.

Once the backing gets smooth enough then further improvements come from calendaring the actual oxide coating.

If your acetate tapes feel rough it is due to the oxide and the manufacturing process, not the material. If the base material was rough it wouldn't be so shiny, would it?

David
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  #33  
Old 06-01-2013, 04:28 AM
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I might not use acetate tape to make a serious new recording but with proper use and care you should be able to archive most or all of their contents, barring major problems.

Would you really treat early poly/mylar tapes any less carefully, not knowing anything about their usage history?
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  #34  
Old 06-01-2013, 06:34 AM
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On the other hand, I have a few of the Soviet reels that replaced the acetate tapes. They do feel smoother, because the rough acetate edge does not attempt to cut into my flesh anymore, although the oxide surface still looks as bad as acetate tapes. Yes, the acetate tapes that I have are 50 micron thick and the replacement is only 35 (2 mil vs 1.5 mil), so that may in part explain the rough feel...

OK, sure, I have no idea how the acetate tapes felt like when they were younger, but the ones I have surely do not look or feel like worth using, at all...
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  #35  
Old 06-02-2013, 06:02 PM
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Acetate Base Film

Quote:
Before acetate there were paper tapes and they really were rougher.
You must be referring to Fritz Pfleumer who made some paper tape that had no machine to work with. BASF's first production in June, 1934, was on Cellit L cellulose acetate with type P iron carbonyl as the magnetic material. In 1947 3M made a paper tape with iron oxide and claimed to be the inventor of the first real tape. In 1979 they claimed to be the inventor of metal particle tape. It seems as though anything before 1947 didn't count in Minnesota.

The backing has some effect on modulation noise, but head wear is a function of the surface finish of the tape and the materials used. Acetate-based tapes are the oldest versions, so their finishes were not as refined as modern tapes coated onto PET or PEN film.
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  #36  
Old 06-02-2013, 08:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wilhelm View Post
... It seems as though anything before 1947 didn't count in Minnesota.
Maybe Jack Mullin's demonstation of this thing (in 1947) :




gave them a wake up call ???

Not everything is invented in the US ......
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  #37  
Old 06-03-2013, 07:21 AM
speaker dave speaker dave is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wilhelm View Post
You must be referring to Fritz Pfleumer who made some paper tape that had no machine to work with. BASF's first production in June, 1934, was on Cellit L cellulose acetate with type P iron carbonyl as the magnetic material. In 1947 3M made a paper tape with iron oxide and claimed to be the inventor of the first real tape. In 1979 they claimed to be the inventor of metal particle tape. It seems as though anything before 1947 didn't count in Minnesota.

The backing has some effect on modulation noise, but head wear is a function of the surface finish of the tape and the materials used. Acetate-based tapes are the oldest versions, so their finishes were not as refined as modern tapes coated onto PET or PEN film.
I wouldn't think they claimed to have invented tape but they certainly were heavily involved in its evolution.

Here is the paper I referred to. It is a good read. I've also added a crop of the diagram that shows the modulation noise difference between paper tape (old type 101) and acetate 111. As they explain in the text, the paper tape is rough and porous and that leads to uneven coating thickness (essentially a bumpy surface). Under no signal conditions there is no great effect but with signal (3% DC magnetization in their example) the paper tape is 10dB noisier. This is, of course, modulation noise.

A previous poster stated that Acetate tape was rougher and would lead to greater head wear than modern tapes. First off, I've seen no evidence that Acetate is rougher than mylar. Acetate has a very glossy surface and high gloss means a well polished surface. The backing isn't rubbing across the heads anyway, so the oxide roughness is what would be relevant to head wear, not the backing.

Note that even in the case of the paper backing, there is no guarantee that its lumpy surface would lead to head wear. Not just (rms) roughness, but the sharpness of edges would need to be considered. Its a bit like comparing asphalt roadways with cement roadways. Cement may pour very flat but it has a more sharply pointed surface and this leads to more high frequency tire noise and probably more tire wear. The "frequency content" of the surface roughness is the crucial factor for wear.

As a final thought on head wear: I have several tape decks and enjoy using them in rotation. The number of hours I'm accumulating on them is pretty low. Maybe others here are using their machines for hours and hours each week. I, for one, can't imagine that I will ever wear out the heads on any of my machines.

David
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  #38  
Old 06-03-2013, 08:50 AM
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Thanks, David. The sentence in the paper stated that "early tapes made in this country (U.S.A.) employed a paper base." That would have started in 1947, fourteen years after BASF had started coating on acetate. 3M also notes the use of orientation magnets "since about 1950." That, too, would have been over a decade after BASF had been orienting particles. 3M's greatest contributions were to video tape and to digital audio recording, but audio tape was fairly well developed by the time 3M entered the picture.
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  #39  
Old 06-03-2013, 02:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by speaker dave View Post
A previous poster stated that Acetate tape was rougher and would lead to greater head wear than modern tapes. First off, I've seen no evidence that Acetate is rougher than mylar.
I think it is worth considering this question in terms of the tapes of the period up till the late 60s, whatever their base.
You've only got to look at the improvements of the tape manufacture during the late 60s and 70 to see how inferior the older ones are: better lubricants, more polished surfaces.... I would think such advances mean less wear, seems obvious.
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  #40  
Old 06-04-2013, 04:07 AM
speaker dave speaker dave is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eclectiktronik View Post
You've only got to look at the improvements of the tape manufacture during the late 60s and 70 to see how inferior the older ones are: better lubricants, more polished surfaces.... I would think such advances mean less wear, seems obvious.
I'm sure that tapes got constantly smoother over time, since smoother surface would give better HF response, lower modulation noise and, yes, lower wear. But remember that they were advertizing "ferrosheen" and other processes to give smoother tapes and less wear in the late 50s. Were there big improvements, or diminishing returns, after that time?

The question is how much lower wear would result? Would it take 3-4 hours of modern tape play to match the wear of 1 hours type 111 play? Or would an hour of 111 equal, say, 1 1/4 of modern tapes?

I can't answer that question. You can't either.

David
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